Meet the Brands Behind Canadian Seal Fur Products
Canadian Seal Products is a multi-faceted brand that promotes the understanding of sealing in Canada, both by non-Indigenous and Indigenous communities, in order to expand markets for products made from seal fur, seal meat, and seal oil omega-3. Let’s look at how we’re building consumer awareness of seal fur products, then meet some of the brands selling in our online store.
The number of vendors selling seal fur through our store is growing steadily, but for the last few decades, the market has been depressed. Even in Canada, many people have had little exposure to seal fur, particularly if they live far from the coast.
Canadian Seal Fur Products Brands
- Alway in Vogue: Known for their remarkable quality and style, backed by 58 years of remarkable history, Always In Vogue is “The Next Chapter In Luxury“. Always in Vogue, a business that specializes in high end outerwear, including sealskin products with a store based in downtown St. John’s, in Newfoundland and Labrador. Shop now
- Bill Word Furs: Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Bill Worb Furs is one of the last great independent fur and leather houses in Canada, bringing the product of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous trappers and harvesters of Northern Canada to world markets. On the Canadian Seal Products website, you can also find more information on the different characteristics of seal pelts and what to do with seal pelts. Shop now
- BW Seal Style: Beverley King has a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts and a Masters degree specializing in Art Therapy. She has been creating sealskin products under the name of “BWSealStyle” since 2016. She started working with sealskin through experiences with the St. John’s Mi’kmaq Women’s Circle, of which she is a founding member. It soon became a passion and a form of medicine and healing when, after the passing of her parents, she needed a way to move on from the caregiving role. The sensory experience of working with the seal fur is relaxing and satisfying. She combines natural materials such as pelt, fur and antler with man made materials to create various pieces of jewelry, brooches and ornaments. Shop now
- Clare Dawn Studio: “My body of work in Sealskin and Seal Leather is exploratory. I’m not afraid to use colour, texture, and to pair it with different materials. I’m compelled to be bold and unapologetic in my designs. I see truth in the material. The resiliency, hard work, the beauty produced by harsh conditions. It is successful evolution; it is a smart textile. Anything a synthetic textile would try to emulate, Nature has already perfected in this fibre. The creative potential I see in sealskin is nurtured by my emotional relationship to it. It embodies so much of what the world needs right now. It is local, sustainable, humane, and possesses the most wonderful combination of durability and biodegradability. You can wear it a life time, and it will then return to Mother Earth. I’m inspired to push the limits / boundaries / properties of what the material can do. I’m inspired by the Hunters/ Harvesters themselves and their strength in the face of adversity.” Shop now
- Fourrures Grenier: Manufacturing company since 1970 that manufactures boots, hats, mittens, slippers and other products in fur and different materials. This family business, which employs 36 people, is located in Abitibi-Témiscamingue in northern Quebec, a region that knows cold and really white winters. Fourrures Grenier, for winter specialists! Shop now
- GNP Craft Producers: Located on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, we are a manufacture of seal skin products such as hats, slippers, purses etc.. The people of the Northern Peninsula have always used sealing as a mean of income. In the early nineties after the Newfoundland fishery received major blows coastal communities like Shoal Cove looked for ways to keep the industry and culture alive. The economuseum started as the Great Northern Peninsula (GNP) Craft Producers inc. in 1991. It was a pilot project aimed to determine the potential of selling products made by local crafts people using raw material and traditional techniques. GNP Crafts’ mission is the enhancement of the regions rich cultural heritage while increasing public awareness of the important role played by the seal industry in the survival and development of the Great Northern Peninsula’s coastal communities. Shop now
- MonaSeams: “My name is Donna (Greeley) White. I grew up in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland, Canada. I am the founder of Monaseams. I have been married for 39 years and have three children and a grandchild. In the last forty plus years I have been creating in the form of sewing, knitting, crochet, to name a few. Approximately three years ago I decided to use my skills to create something from sealskin. I don’t use preexisting patterns. “If I can think it, I can make it”. When browsing through my work you’ll find some unique items. Some of my experience I received when I lived in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, working with ladies of the community. We learned things from each other. Whenever possible I use Newfoundland Tartan as a lining. I love the culture, traditions, and our people, so what better way is there then to combine the seal industry and our beautiful Tartan.” Shop now
- Phocal Stone Designs: Based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Jennifer Bonnell is the artist behind Phocal Stone Designs. Phocal Stone Designs specializes in unique sterling silver, gold-filled, and stainless steel jewelry integrating seal fur with artisanal lampworked glass & ceramic beads, gemstones, sea-glass, beach rocks and more! Shop now
Why buying seal fur?
The primary task of Canadian Seal Fur Products is to increase consumer awareness. We need to spread the word that these products not only exist but are now accessible to all in the age of online shopping. We need strong messages to explain to people that buying seal fur is a smart choice:
- Seal fur is good for the environment. The sustainable use of renewable natural resources is vital for the future of our planet, and harvesting seals is a perfect fit. Canada’s seal populations are large and healthy, estimated to total over 10 million, and they also consume vast amounts of fish. Controlling their numbers is therefore essential to achieving balance in our marine ecosystem, and supporting the harvest by wearing seal fur is one way to help. Furthermore, the production of seal fur clothing leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than synthetic clothing made from fossil fuels like petroleum. Fossil fuels pollute the environment at every stage of their extraction and processing, are nonrenewable resources, and garments made from them do not biodegrade.
- Culture & Tradition: Working with seal fur is deeply embedded, culturally, socially, and economically, in the lives of many remote coastal communities. In the Inuit and Indigenous communities of Canada’s north, seals have been hunted since prehistoric times, but even on the east coast, early European settlers began sealing five centuries ago. And today, these communities still retain strong connections to their local resources. But immeasurable damage has been done to markets for seal products by misguided animal rights campaigns, compounded by the scarcity of other job opportunities and affordable sources of animal protein. By purchasing Canadian Seal Fur Products, you choose to support these communities and give them a chance to continue harvesting this renewable natural resource.
- Seal fur has many excellent qualities. It is warm enough for the most extreme winter conditions. It is also water- and wind-resistant due to its high oil content and tight fiber structure, yet it breathes extremely well. It is also lightweight and flexible because there is no underfur, and it takes dye well, meaning it can be both functional and fashionable. Yet it’s one of the most durable of all furs, and easily cleaned and maintained, so a seal fur garment often outlasts its owner. And at the end of its long life, seal fur is fully biodegradable.
- One of a kind: In addition to these key messages, we want consumers to know that all the seal fur products in our store are unique. Buying seal fur boots, for example, is not like buying leather boots from a major manufacturer. Those leather boots are intentionally mass-produced so they all look identical, but no two seal pelts are the same. Plus all our seal fur products have been hand-crafted by skilled artisans into their own designs.
We use a variety of means to help build consumer awareness of seal fur products, from online advertising to participation in trade shows, but perhaps the most modern and exciting is influencer marketing.
In our case, this involves recruiting knowledgeable bloggers with large followings on social media, supplying them with samples, and then asking them to review our products. We also ask that their reviews contain our key messages about why seal fur is a wise choice.
We are currently working with 2 influencers, all with significant followings on Instagram, while one is also very active on TikTok.
Chloe Zhang is from Ontario, with 54,900 Instagram followers.
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And then we have Athenas Angulo, a wellness and lifestyle blogger from British Columbia, with 51,000 Instagram followers.
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Seal Fur Products Showcased
So, what products from our store are our current batch of influencers reviewing?
Chloe is reviewing four products. She chose some slippers, this time with sealskin uppers, leather soles, and sheepskin linings. These are available from Always in Vogue in St. John’s, in women’s sizes 5-11, and in the colors steel, dark grey, and black.
She is also reviewing sealskin mittens with leather palms and coyote cuffs from Fourrures Grenier; plus the same harp seal coin purse also reviewed by Athenas.
Athenas’s eye was taken by a hand-stitched harp seal coin purse made by the Clare Dawn Studio in St. John’s. It is unlined with a kiss clasp and is available either natural or dyed black.
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Also being reviewed by Athenas are Italian lambskin gloves with seal fur cuffs from Always in Vogue; sealskin earrings in a wide range of colors, from BWSealStyle in St. John’s; slippers with seal fur uppers, leather soles, and fleece linings from GNP Craft Producers; and a sealskin and crochet headband from MonaSeams.